Chapter X: The S.S. Inferis

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*I am not sure what song to use here so I am open to suggestions :-)*

Apollo reached forwarded and folded Medusa's slumbering body against his chest. He carried her like a babe in his arms. The strain from his efforts only showed in the sweat on his brow. The dozens of tiny snakes, that crowned her pearlescent face, eyed him with suspicion. They never turned away as he carried her from the mouth of the cave into the open field.

Hades and Cornelia continued to treat each other with a vicious silence, and Artemis lead the way. "We have to go to the Inferis with her, Apollo." Artemis knew that this statement would upset her friend, but safety was more important than his emotions.

"Why, she is clearly not one of them," Apollo growled as his arms tightly encircling her waist. He shielded her from view with his own body.

Artemis voice was gentle, but her words remained stoic, and in Apollo's eyes cruel. "She is one of them, Apollo, her kind is more animal than humanoid."

Something in this moment felt wrong, Cornelia knew the facts. She heard the computer speak, but the woman she spoke to was not an animal or a monster. She seemed to hold greater understanding and knowledge than any of them. Calling her a monster did not feel right to Cornelia, the illness of guilt wound its way around her intestines. "I am with Apollo, she is not a creature that should be penned up in some sort of crazy alien zoo. Maybe she can help us?"

Artemis groaned as her eyes trained on Cornelia's. "Cornelia, many people much more educated than ww are, deemed her species inviable for sentient status." Her hand tightened around her weapon, "I am more inclined to listen to them than my emotions."

"On what qualifiers!" Apollo snarled clutching Medusa's unconscious body closer to his chest. Sweat was trickling down his forehead and his breath was heavy. His laden footsteps were sunk deeper into the wild terrain. Medusa gently moaned and he froze terrified of waking her.

"She is dangerous Apollo. Beautiful things are dangerous and some can be monsters if you give them half a chance. You should know that by now. We are bringing her back, that is an order." Artemis' voice was firm but gentle her hand lightly resting on his shoulder.

Apollo tried to stutter a response but upon meeting the consternation in Artemis' eyes he clenched his lips shut. Clearly seething he whispered something softly into Medusa's ear and stormed ahead of the group.

When they reached a location that allowed for teleportation, the tension amongst the party was immense. Artemis and Hades looked at each other once and nodded. They simultaneously tapped their badges and the group vanished from view. Their only trace was deep footprints among the weeds and muck. None of them saw a face emerge from the cave just as they vanished.

They rematerialized right outside of the entrance of an enormous ship. The silvery hull was smooth without even the smallest sign of a seam. To Cornelia, it looked much more like a ship for the sea than one meant for air. She ran her hands enthralled over the sides of the ship. She turned to no one and whispered: "How did you get it to fly?" Looking up into the clear blue sky the wonder and mystery of space flight truly sinking in for the first time.

Artemis shrugged and Apollo was still busy sulking. It was Hades who lit up at the opportunity to explain the dynamics of warp drive and rocketry. He launched into a long arduous explanation filled with a mix of mathematics and chemistry. Cornelia's eyes quickly glazed over with each sentence. After about two minutes of the enthusiastic explanation, Hades paused abruptly. He watched her closely and a look of empathy crossed his face. He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "I am sorry, I did not mean to ramble."

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